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EPA Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act

EPA is required to comply with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for its:

  • research and development activities,
  • facilities construction,
  • wastewater treatment construction grants under Title II of the Clean Water Act,
  • EPA-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for new sources, and
  • for certain projects funded through EPA annual Appropriations Acts.

EPA is exempt from NEPA under the following statutes:

  • Section 511(c) of the Clean Water Act exempts most EPA actions under the Clean Water Act from the requirements of NEPA.
  • Section 7(c) of the Energy Supply and Environmental Coordination Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C. 793(c)(1)) exempts all EPA actions under the Clean Air Act from the requirements of NEPA.

In addition, courts have consistently recognized that certain EPA procedures or environmental reviews under enabling legislation are functionally equivalent to the NEPA process and thus exempt from the procedural requirements of NEPA. The purpose of the functional equivalence exemption is avoidance of repetitious analysis in a decision making process that functions in an equivalent way to the NEPA process.

EPA NEPA Compliance Guidance and Procedures 

EPA NEPA Compliance Documents

EPA's NEPA Compliance Database contains EPA's NEPA documents, issued after August 1, 2013, for its own actions. The database includes:

  • Categorical Exclusions (CE)
  • Environmental Assessments (EA)
  • Findings of No Significant Impacts (FONSI)

For information on Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) prepared by EPA for its actions, go to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Database.